Sunday, February 24, 2008

To Make Christ Known

What is the Christian church supposed to be doing?

Here at the beginning of the 21st century, the North American church appears to be struggling for its sense of purpose. It is time to return to Jesus’ basic mandate to His followers. [Complete Article]

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Online Course Announced

I have just received word that my online course, Developing Congregational Prayer Ministries, will be offered through the Church of God Theological Seminary this summer (June 3 - August 31, 2008).

Details are available in the Course Syllabus.

This graduate-level course was designed for individuals who already have a college degree; however, a limited number of qualified applicants may enroll as special students (not requiring a college degree). For application and enrollment information, call the Church of God Theological Seminary toll free, 1-800-228-9126.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Presentations of Conference Teachings

Here are a few video recordings and PowerPoint presentations of the teachings I delivered at the recent 2008 Equippers Conference in Michigan. The videos are not actual recordings of the live sessions, but in these clips I do cover the same material. On a few points, I actually go beyond what I was able to deliver in the series of live presentations:

Cultivating a Culture of Prayer in the Local ChurchDeveloping Congregational Prayer MinistriesSpirit-Enabled Prayer Ministry

Monday, February 04, 2008

"Friends of God" and "Friends of the Bridegroom"

Last year J. D. Simmons and I released a series of training booklets designed to address some of the heart issues essential to faithful and effective service in local church leadership:
  • Friends of God: Growing in Life's Most Essential Relationship. This booklet is a study that elevates the priority of our relationship with God. It is out of our relationship with God that we are enabled to properly discern God's vision for His Church. Readers will also learn how to cultivate a deeper relationship with God through the practice of spiritual disciplines.
  • Friends of the Bridegroom: Partnering with Christ in His Devotion to the Church. Through the imagery of the bridal paradigm, leaders are encouraged to relate and minister to the Church on the basis of Christ’s affections for her. Biblical guidance is offered for cultivating healthy relationships with church constituents. The authors promote an approach to ministry that intentionally draws upon the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • A third booklet in the series, Are You Ready for Church Leadership?, was written by Randy Dye. This booklet speaks of the joy of serving, essential relational keys, the embracing of the pastor’s vision, and what it means to be an armor bearer. The writer also calls for adequately honoring, respecting and providing for the pastor and his family. He closes with a frank, yet affirming, message directed to pastors.
All three booklets are available through Life Worth Living Ministries.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Beyond Goal Setting

Many pastors set goals only to find themselves frustrated months later with their lack of progress in reaching them. The Pastoral Covenant Group (PCG) process initiated by the Church of God Theological Seminary provides a way for pastors to break through barriers that prevent projected goals from becoming fulfilled goals.

In addition to the relational benefit of the PCG, pastors are also (1) identifying personal and ministry development needs, (2) setting goals to address those needs, (3) crafting plans to reach stated goals, and (4) making covenant to support and resource one another in their development.

Participants for 2007-2008 have reported that they are in pursuit of goals in a broad range of areas, such as the following:
  • Community outreach
  • Evangelism and church growth
  • Staff development
  • Church administration
  • Leading change
  • Family ministry
  • Doctrinal fidelity
  • Preparing for retirement
  • Spiritual vitality
  • Stewardship
  • Team ministry
  • Dealing with stress
  • Worship and prayer ministries
  • Assimilating newcomers
  • Increasing biblical knowledge
  • Cultural issues and challenges
  • Ministry to blended families
  • Building programs
  • Conflict ministry
  • Congregational health
  • Counseling
  • Continuing education
  • Financial issues
  • Technology and ministry
  • Personal health
  • Spouses in ministry
To date in this year's project, 89 covenant-making retreats have been conducted, and an estimated 800 project participants are following a covenant-based plan in their pursuit of pastoral excellence.

For more information about this Pastoral Covenant Group initiative, visit the website for the Center for Pentecostal Leadership and Care--a ministry of the Church of God Theological Seminary.